On 6 May, South Africa’s Minister of Communications, General (Ret) Siphiwe Nyanda, opened the Local and Digital Content Summit at the Indaba Hotel in Fourways, Johannesburg.
Here is the full text of his speech:
The Local and Digital Content Summit is as a result of the South African government’s desire to transform the entertainment sector.
It began with the creation of the Local and Digital Content Development Strategy which was developed as part of the Department of Communication’s plan towards implementing the Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy. This Strategy was also developed in anticipation of the multi-channel broadcasting environment brought about by the broadcasting digital migration. The overall intention is to increase content development in South Africa.
The Local and Digital Content Development strategy is developed within a South African content industry which is characterized by commissioning approaches to content production. It is also mainly dominated by a few role-players with lack of comprehensive support mechanisms for aspirant and emerging content creators, characterised by skills shortage relating to script development and packaging. It is also concentrated on content development activities located in urban centres.
Some provinces such as Limpopo and Mpumalanga, which we all know possess rich cultural content, do not feature significantly in our broadcasting industry. It is therefore, the aim of this summit to discuss matters of this nature and arrive at a productive way forward.
Many of us approach the subject of Local and Digital content not only as politicians or policy makers, but as proud members of society, whose identities, cultures and traditions we hold dearly, because they define who we are in our diversity.
Your roles as creators, carriers and distributors of culture and tradition have become critical in preserving these for future generations. Your role has further demonstrated that the various business activities associated with the entire content process, can have huge economic benefits for our people. In an era where economies are knowledge based, content or creative industries play a pivotal role and should, therefore, be nurtured.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Your presence today highlights two things: firstly, that local content can be part of the national dialogue which all of us should engage in a robust manner. Secondly, that building a competitive local content industry is not the sole responsibility of government and the regulator. It is a collaborative process that requires active participation from all of us, government, industry, labour, the regulator, civil society and the general public.
This resonates with the theme of the ruling party that says: TOGETHER WE CAN DO MORE. Our efforts to achieve this collaboration, as a Department are not to be seen only in the hosting of this summit, but on all our contributions towards achieving a better life for all.
We have already called for the nomination from members of the public to suggest people with the requisite skills and expertise to serve on the Local Content Advisory Council as required by section 38 of the Broadcasting Act of 1999. Upon establishment, such a body will ensure that there is a continuous engagement between the government, industry, civil society and the public in the long term vision for the sector, thus creating a forum for systematic sharing of ideas and strategies for the betterment of the country.
Ladies and Gentleman,
This Summit is an effort supported by a myriad of policies and interventions by government as a whole, particularly the DOC, Department of Trade & Industry, Arts & Culture and their respective entities including National Film & Foundation and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).
Our responsibility as government is to continue with the creation of an enabling environment to ensure market certainty by bringing about investment for the industry to thrive. We will also attend to issues relating to transformation and diversity in the industry, support mechanisms for emerging content creators, empowerment, and decentralisation of content activities into predominantly rural provinces.
These issues are critical in unlocking the potential of the local content industry in this country both for economic and social reasons. I am pleased to note that these issues appear on the agenda of this summit.
As we are all aware, the scope of local content transcends one department. Therefore we hope to continue to work closely with our sister departments especially the DTI, Arts & Culture, Science & Technology, Local Government & Traditional Affairs and International Affairs and Cooperation in finalising and subsequently implementing these policies.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our journey to unlocking the potential of the local content industry cannot be successful unless we bring other partners in the SADC region on board. The success of a strong local content industry in South Africa depends on our partnerships with our SADC neighbours. This is critical for creating a borderless content market with multiple licensing opportunities for our local content creators. Therefore, various platforms and opportunities have to be provided for engagements to occur with the entire SADC region.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This summit comes just a month days prior to the FIFA Soccer World Cup hoisted by us for the first time on the African Soil. The summit provides us with a life time opportunity to seek innovative ways to sell South African cultures to the world through our various platforms.
Finally, I want to once again thank you all for being present at this summit. I have no doubt that the issues to be discussed and the recommendations emanating from this Summit will go a long way in helping to unlock the potential of the industry.
I wish you well in your deliberations!